IHRDA has received funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to train lawyers, judicial officers and CSOs in The Gambia and Ivory Coast on the use of international human rights law in the promotion and protection of human rights at domestic level. Lawyers and CSOs will also be trained on how to identify, strategize and file cases before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACmHPR), the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACtHPR), the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), and the Economic Community of West African States Community Court of Justice (ECOWAS Court). The Project also envisages identification of cases on strategic human rights issues in the two countries. The project was initiated by mid-2013.
Objectives of the Project
The broad objective of the project is to enhance the capacity of the target groups in order to enable them to make use of international human rights standards in the promotion and protection of human rights in their respective countries. In particular, the project will seek to:
(a) Train local lawyers, judicial officers and civil society organisations in The Gambia and Ivory Coast on the content, relevance and use of international human rights standards. This is particularly important where domestic law is inadequate or ineffective in providing for particular rights.
(b) Train lawyers and CSOs on how to identify, strategize and bring cases of human rights violations before the adequate African regional and sub-regional bodies.
(c) Ensure that a stream of well prepared cases on critical human rights issues is generated at national, regional and international levels by working in collaboration with local partners in the two countries to identify strategic cases that could be litigated before national courts and the regional bodies. Working with local partners will also serve to transfer critical skills in litigation-based advocacy.
Recently Completed Projects
3. Seeding Litigation Project
Since its inception in 2005 until 2012, the Seeding Litigation project has been funded by MacArthur Foundation. This project involves developing a stream of well-prepared strategic cases on key human rights issues for eventual litigation before the regional and sub-regional mechanisms.
Initially, the project was designed to seed cases from the domestic level for litigation before the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights with a view to testing its accessibility, publicizing its work, and spearheading critical African human rights jurisprudence.The project has now expanded to litigation in front of all the African human rights institutions.
As part of its broader legal work, IHRDA also provides legal representation to victims, support to NGOs litigating strategic cases, and where necessary files amicus curiae briefs in strategic human rights cases before domestic courts.
So far, under this project, IHRDA has litigated cases on issues such as forced evictions, torture, arbitrary arrest, and structural or historical discrimination, and has identified a number of issues which are pending litigation in a couple of countries in Africa. IHRDA also remains open to share its litigation skills, knowledge and experiences by collaborating with NGO and individual human rights defenders in identifying critical human rights issues, developing the necessary cases, and litigating them using human rights law at domestic and international levels.